The Chelsea Rotary Club - Our club


The Rotary Club of Kensington and Chelsea is born.

The Rotary Club of Kensington and Chelsea is one of the many Rotary clubs found all over the world. The Rotary Club of Kensington was the third oldest Rotary club in London and was chartered in 1925. Whilst the Rotary Club of Chelsea was first chartered in July 1928. The two clubs came together in 2016 and made a clear and historic choice to work together and in the 2017 merged to form The Rotary Club of Kensington and Chelsea.

Our members are of mixed gender, a wide range of ages and come from diverse professional backgrounds. The Rotary Club of Kensington and Chelsea is a member of Rotary in London www.rotaryinlondon.org and Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland www.ribi.org and is a sponsor to the Rotaract Club of Kings College London (KCL).

The Club meets every Tuesday evening at 6.30 for 6:45pm at THE VANDERBILT HOTEL, Kensington, 68-86 Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BT. For directions: www.chelsearotaryclub.org.uk/contact/

Please visit our NEWS page for more information about our forthcoming events. We are happy to welcome you at our dinner meetings. It is necessary to inform our Secretary prior to your visit.

A brief history of Chelsea Rotary Club (1927-2017)

When Joe Huxley thought of joining the London Club in 1927 he was suggested to form a Rotary Club in Chelsea. He gathered six prospective members and contacted the Kensington Club, who were delegated to help. George W. Hammond, the Managing Director of the Thames Tube Co. Ltd, was elected the first President hold the first meeting at the Watteau Restaurant, Church Street on Wednesday 22nd February, 1928 at 7:30 p.m.

For the next 30 years the Club found its home at the Rembrandt Hotel. The Club soon got down to active service giving assistance to the community in many forms. Helping with bed-ridden folk, assistance to hospitals, lonely old age pensioners, boys' club and others. In 1931 the Club began the endowment of a cot at the Cheyne Hospital by raising the necessary 1,000 with Garden Fetes, Masque of Old Chelsea and 'treasure hunts'. The Rotary Club of Chelsea Cot' was presented on 7th December 1937.

"One other night lingers like a vivid scar on the memory of the Club - the tragic night of Wednesday 16th April 1941, when our small Club lost no fewer than three members at one blow. President, Vice President and his wife, and Acting Secretary with his wife and daughter, were killed instantaneously while keeping each other company during one of the heaviest raids on London. The treble blow shocked the Club badly, and for weeks and months the life of the Club seemed stunned." The Club continued to meet weekly throughout the whole period, sometimes in distress and confusion.

1950 was a 'bumper' year, seeing the intake of 11 members, by the end of 1959 some 42 newcomers had joined. In all the Club made an unusually high contribution to civic life by producing, in 20 years four Mayors who, between them, held office as 'first citizen' for an aggregate period of 10 years.

The legendary President's Chair

Chelsea Rotary Club suffered from enemy action during World War II, more than any Club in R.I.B.I. It lost four members William Kentish, Randolph Grosvenor, George White and Francis Price, and some of their relatives. It was felt that a permanent memorial should be inaugurated. As the War ended, members sought a suitable memorial and found it in the shape of a President's Chair. The chair made of oak, a magnificent example of British craftsmanship, was presented on 15th April 1947. It remains a lasting memorial to our fallen members of the Club.
Following careful renovation the chair returned to Chelsea Club and was formally rededicated on 25 April 2017. The chair has now returned to resume its pride of place in the midst of the new Kensington and Chelsea Rotary Club.